12 January 2019 Eight
years ago, the County Council decided to turn off many street-lights
overnight, in order to save money and to reduce carbon emissions. The
lights stay on all night on main thoroughfares. Although relatively few
people are out and about in the small hours, the change did create
fears of burglary, vehicle thefts etc when the lights are out. Essex
Police stated at the time that they were not aware of any increase in
crime caused by a lack of lighting (and indeed the village of Theydon
Bois has no street-lights anyway).
Epping Forest District
Council has recently negotiated an agreement with Essex County Council
to allow individual town or parish councils to opt to have
street-lights on all night – but paid for by local Council Taxpayers.
As the County Council is responsible for street-lighting, some
residents see this as a form of stealth tax.
Like much of the
rest of Essex, many parts of the District are not close to large towns,
and all-night lighting may not be a significant issue. However
Loughton, and nearby areas, are close to London, and served by the
Central Line Tube, which runs all night on Fridays and Saturdays, so
there’s more late-night traffic and a greater fear of crime in Loughton
between 1am and 5am when the lights are out.
For Loughton to
have the lights on between all night in residential areas would cost
the town’s Council Taxpayers around £35,000 a year (around £3 a
household) - in due course the Town Council will be considering the
pros and cons of making the change, and will also need to gauge public
opinion. The same process will no doubt be carried out by the
District’s other parish and town councils.